No matter what you’re doing in Salsa, relax your elbows. Why, you ask? Here’s what will happen if you don’t…
Tense elbows cause…
- Arm movements to slow down
- Workspaces to become uncomfortable
- Ladies’ elbows bump into the lead
- Ladies’ turning window disappears
- Leads to reach too far to move ladies’ arms
- The shoulder joint to become impinged, leading to injury over time
- Everyone to get elbowed in the face
As you can see, high elbows are a nasty habit that can cause some serious problems, especially if they result in injury. To make life easier on both you and your partner, dance smart, not hard. Give those elbows a chill pill and enjoy what happens next.
Why so tense?
Before you learn to relax, it’s important to realize why your elbows might be rising in the first place. The common reason for this is the infamous Mr. Burns look – a.k.a. poor posture. If you’re a Burnsy look-a-like with slouchy posture and shrugging shoulders, high elbows will be a natural result.
How to relax
To fix your elbows, hold a long, tall posture and your elbows will naturally begin to relax. Continue holding your shoulders back and down, setting them gently into place. Got it? Good. Now, work on maintaining this posture throughout an entire dance.
Our advice: Avoid the creepy look. Hold your posture. Look Great. Reap the rewards.
Benefits of relaxed elbows
Right from the get go you’ll start to notice that your movement becomes more economical. Turns become easier and you have to put far less work into leading your partner. As you move into more advanced steps, you’ll be able to speed up your movement without compromising comfort. This is super important when executing fast arm movements and directional changes.
Height is no excuse – short men rejoice!
This tip is a saviour for all you shorties out there. Some guys tend to use height as an excuse when having difficulty leading tall partners. In some cases it might be true, but if you start relaxing your elbows, you’ll find that it really knocks down the height differential and makes both partners’ lives easier. To see what I mean, check out Patrick’s demo at 4:15 in the video above. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Now over to you
What’s the single most effective change you’ve made in your dancing that has made your movement smoother and easier to execute? Share with us in the comments below.